Fabri the only true successor to Oscar Cordoba

Updated: March 27, 2017

The Spanish goalkeeper “Fabri”, who was transferred this past summer from La Liga side Deportivo La Coruña on a free transfer, has in in a very short timespan grown out to be one of the fan favourites at Vodafone Arena.

The legendary Oscar Cordoba had left a void which proved particularly difficult to fill after his departure in 2006.

Fabri, which is short for Fabricio, was brought in on the recommendation of former goalkeeper coach José Sambade. The 29-year old goalkeeper is currently experiencing one of his most successful spells at any club, and seems to have finally put an end to the goalkeeper woes of the Black Eagles of the past decade.

Beşiktaş have had little luck with goalkeepers in recent years, both Turkish and foreign alike, but now they’ve finally seem to have found the a goalkeeper worthy of being named the successor of the Colombian Oscar Cordoba.

Fabri put in a man of the match performance in Beşiktaş’ recent goalless draw with Antalyaspor in the Süper Lig, after going down to 10 men in the 64th minute. It seems that Fabri has earned the trust of his teammates and enjoys their complete confidence. Something which previous number one, Tolga Zengin, was visually lacking. Whereas the defence and perhaps even the entire team seemed quite nervous with Tolga between the sticks, Fabri has inspired his teammates with his consistently solid performances.

Following Oscar Cordoba’s departure from Beşiktaş in 2006, Beşiktaş were unable to find a worthy successor, but not for the lack of trying. Foreign keepers such as Vedran Runje, Allan McGregor, Denys Boyko and Turkish keepers such as Hakan Arikan, Cenk Gönen and even the legendary Turkish goalkeeper Rüştü Reçber could never fill the void that Cordoba left behind him, until now, until Fabri arrived on the scene.

Fabri put in a heroic performance and saved a penalty which ultimately led to a historic away victory in the Champions League against Napoli: 2-3.

Fabri however was far from the first choice of the fans, who seemed to have had their hearts set on Arsenal goalie David Ospina for several years now. In addition the injury history of Fabri was something which worried many, having missed the entire 2015/15 season due to a knee ligament injury, and therefore his transfer was heavily scrutinized before the had ever even played a minute.

But it didn’t take the Spaniard long, initial reports and scenes of his work on training alone gave many fans a sense of positivity. Fabri’s phenomenal footwork and passing game was already apparant in the pre-season training camp, Beşiktaş didn’t just blindly bring in the Spanish goalkeeper, they had been following him for years and knew exactly what they were getting the fans however needed to see him in action for themselves before they got sold on him.

Now, more than 7 months since the beginning of the season, Fabri seems to have conquered the hearts of even the most critical of Beşiktaş fans, having made 33 official appearances already since taking over the gloves from captain Tolga Zengin at the start of the season, in which he’s kept 10 clean sheets so far. Fabri’s impact is not to be underestimated and helped to turn a somewhat vulnerable defensive backline last eason in to one of the sturdiest defences in the Süper Lig.


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Kaan Bayazit

Editor-in-chief at Beşiktaş International
Freelance sports writer specialized in Turkish football and Beşiktaş. Co-host of the Black Eagles podcast. Frequently featured in World Soccer Digest Japan and many other international media outlets. Following Turkish football for close to two decades. Proud father to Aedin.
Kaan Bayazit
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